RICHARD reads reviews: BONE LABRYNTH, James Rollins

Move over Dan Brown, another author is pushing you on the stage. James Rollin’s Bone Labyrinth is a Da Vinci Code wannabe…and nearly succeeds.

Historical fiction is fun stuff.

Bone Labyrinth
A war is coming, a battle that will stretch from the prehistoric forests of the ancient past to the cutting-edge research labs of today, all to reveal a true mystery buried deep within our DNA, a mystery that will leave readers changed forever

In this groundbreaking masterpiece of ingenuity and intrigue that spans 50,000 years in human history, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins takes us to mankind’s next great leap.

But where will it take us?

In the remote mountains of Croatia, an archaeologist makes a strange discovery: a subterranean Catholic chapel, hidden for centuries, holds the bones of a Neanderthal woman. In the same cavern system, elaborate primitive paintings tell the story of an immense battle between tribes of Neanderthals and monstrous shadowy figures. Who is this mysterious enemy depicted in these ancient drawings and what do the paintings mean?

Before any answers could be made, the investigative team is attacked, while at the same time, a bloody assault is made upon a primate research centre outside of Atlanta. How are these events connected? Who is behind these attacks? The search for the truth will take Commander Gray Pierce of Sigma Force 50,000 years into the past. As he and Sigma trace the evolution of human intelligence to its true source, they will be plunged into a cataclysmic battle for the future of humanity that stretches across the globe and beyond.

With the fate of our future at stake, Sigma embarks on its most harrowing odyssey ever — a breathtaking quest that will take them from ancient tunnels in Ecuador that span the breadth of South America to a millennia-old necropolis holding the bones of our ancestors. Along the way, revelations involving the lost continent of Atlantis will reveal true mysteries tied to mankind’s first steps on the moon. In the end, Gray Pierce and his team will face their greatest threat: an ancient evil, resurrected by modern genetic science, strong enough to bring about the end of man’s dominance on this planet.

Only this time, Sigma will falter—and the world we know will change forever.

Richard’s views
The synopsis above does not do justice to the story at all. Bouncing from poignant thrust to poignant thrust, it suggests that the story is a convoluted or chaotic bag of bones. It’s not. Rollins’ book is a suspenseful story about two scientists, twin sisters, who are working on unlocking the secrets to how mankind hit intellectual pay dirt some 50,000 years ago and jumped from being primitive apes to thinking modern man. An interesting consideration.

One part of the story and the quest for answers about humanity’s great leap of intellectual growth revolves around the lab researcher sister Lena. She is raising a gorilla who is the result of DNA manipulation in the lab. Far superior to gorillas in the wild, this animal communicates using sign language, gestures and vocalizations that are near words.

The other sister, Maria, is the artefacts and historic sites explorer who inches closer and closer to the Holy Grail that will unlock the secrets about the ‘giant leap of intelligence’ among mankind.

However, there has to be suspense and that comes in the form of the Chinese who themselves are on a research path to develop super intelligence but for military purposes.

The work of one of the sisters is so highly regarded by the American government, it has assigned a special unit from the US military to guard her team. The other sister will soon need a military team to defend with her too. A Sino-American clash is inevitable and becomes quite suspenseful and exciting as the plot twists, turns and unfolds.

The book is very engaging laying out questions about the earth, the moon and the history of mankind in thought provoking ways. Facts about the earth, its relationship with the moon and the solar system are put on the table and make the reader wonder if it is possible that there is a connection between man and super thinking beings from elsewhere.

Rollins cycles his story back and forth between the endeavours and events surrounding each sister as he recounts his tale. The story may be a reach for some sceptics. Others will buy into it with little hesitation. Mankind did not reach its intellectual superiority to all other inhabitants of the earth simply through a slow progression of evolution. There had to have been some shock, some unexplained circumstances or beings who interbred with man to produce superior beings, superior to both progenitors.

The gorilla, Baako, the above average intelligence animal, becomes a major player in taking the story into melodramatic directions where the inhumane treatment of lab animals make some readers turn to vegetarianism and enrolling as members of Greenpeace in its endeavours to safeguard the planets animal and fish life.

The inevitable clash of the military contingents brings the novel to its surprising climax but the denouement is even better, a bit maudlin, but still quite satisfying.

This book being a movie in the making is a foregone conclusion. The movie rights have already been purchased by Hollywood.

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